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Media & Review

In hot water

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Aug 31, 2004 | From the print edition

-- (Credit: EMKAY)Jal Chetna Yatra Haryana

On July 12, 2004, Punjab passed an Act scrapping all water sharing agreements with neighbouring states. On July 23, the Haryana Sahitya Akademi launched a two-day Jal Chetna Yatra across 12 Haryana towns to drive in the point that water is a national resource.

If you see a connection between Punjab's decision and the yatra, Akademi officials will vehemently say you have got it wrong. "There is no politics. The yatra was organised by the Akademi, which has nothing do with politics," says an official.

About 40 writers, poets, journalists and academics went around Ambala, Panipat, Kurukshetra and other towns telling people that water is too significant to be a sole state's asset. Newspaper reports quote Akademi director Chander Trikha as saying that the yatra would generate mass opinion against the evil design of those who want to create a division between states on water. If you again read something in that statement, the Akademi will tell you to stop. "Punjab may have heard it wrong, we never said this. Our statement was misinterpreted," says the official.

"The controversy regarding the Satluj-Yamuna link canal had nothing to do with the yatra. Water has become an emotional issue, that's why even campaigns like ours become controversial," he says.

Indeed, water has become an emotional issue in Haryana. The Indian Express reports that the Haryana Bhartiya Janata Party has launched its own Jal Chetna Yatras across 90 assembly constituencies in Haryana demanding that the Union government dismiss Punjab's chief minister. The party's yatras will gather at Chandigarh on August 4 and gherao the Punjab Raj Bhawan.

Surely, that's politics.

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